The Book That Changed America

How Darwin's Theory of Evolution Ignited a Nation

Author: Randall Fuller

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 0698186672

Category: History

Page: 304

View: 1080

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A compelling portrait of a unique moment in American history when the ideas of Charles Darwin reshaped American notions about nature, religion, science and race “A lively and informative history.” – The New York Times Book Review Throughout its history America has been torn in two by debates over ideals and beliefs. Randall Fuller takes us back to one of those turning points, in 1860, with the story of the influence of Charles Darwin’s just-published On the Origin of Species on five American intellectuals, including Bronson Alcott, Henry David Thoreau, the child welfare reformer Charles Loring Brace, and the abolitionist Franklin Sanborn. Each of these figures seized on the book’s assertion of a common ancestry for all creatures as a powerful argument against slavery, one that helped provide scientific credibility to the cause of abolition. Darwin’s depiction of constant struggle and endless competition described America on the brink of civil war. But some had difficulty aligning the new theory to their religious convictions and their faith in a higher power. Thoreau, perhaps the most profoundly affected all, absorbed Darwin’s views into his mysterious final work on species migration and the interconnectedness of all living things. Creating a rich tableau of nineteenth-century American intellectual culture, as well as providing a fascinating biography of perhaps the single most important idea of that time, The Book That Changed America is also an account of issues and concerns still with us today, including racism and the enduring conflict between science and religion.
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Stony the Road

Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow

Author: Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 052555954X

Category: History

Page: 320

View: 8640

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A profound new rendering of the struggle by African-Americans for equality after the Civil War and the violent counter-revolution that resubjugated them, as seen through the prism of the war of images and ideas that have left an enduring racist stain on the American mind. The abolition of slavery in the aftermath of the Civil War is a familiar story, as is the civil rights revolution that transformed the nation after World War II. But the century in between remains a mystery: if emancipation sparked "a new birth of freedom" in Lincoln's America, why was it necessary to march in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s America? In this new book, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., one of our leading chroniclers of the African-American experience, seeks to answer that question in a history that moves from the Reconstruction Era to the "nadir" of the African-American experience under Jim Crow, through to World War I and the Harlem Renaissance. Through his close reading of the visual culture of this tragic era, Gates reveals the many faces of Jim Crow and how, together, they reinforced a stark color line between white and black Americans. Bringing a lifetime of wisdom to bear as a scholar, filmmaker, and public intellectual, Gates uncovers the roots of structural racism in our own time, while showing how African Americans after slavery combatted it by articulating a vision of a "New Negro" to force the nation to recognize their humanity and unique contributions to America as it hurtled toward the modern age. The story Gates tells begins with great hope, with the Emancipation Proclamation, Union victory, and the liberation of nearly 4 million enslaved African-Americans. Until 1877, the federal government, goaded by the activism of Frederick Douglass and many others, tried at various turns to sustain their new rights. But the terror unleashed by white paramilitary groups in the former Confederacy, combined with deteriorating economic conditions and a loss of Northern will, restored "home rule" to the South. The retreat from Reconstruction was followed by one of the most violent periods in our history, with thousands of black people murdered or lynched and many more afflicted by the degrading impositions of Jim Crow segregation. An essential tour through one of America's fundamental historical tragedies, Stony the Road is also a story of heroic resistance, as figures such as W. E. B. Du Bois and Ida B. Wells fought to create a counter-narrative, and culture, inside the lion's mouth. As sobering as this tale is, it also has within it the inspiration that comes with encountering the hopes our ancestors advanced against the longest odds.
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American Trinity

Jefferson, Custer, and the Spirit of the West

Author: Larry Len Peterson

Publisher: Sweetgrass Books

ISBN: 1591522056

Category: Social Science

Page: 728

View: 4211

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American Trinity is for everyone who loves the American West and wants to learn more about the good, the bad, and the ugly. It is a sprawling story with a scholarly approach in method but accessible in manner. In this innovative examination, Dr. Larry Len Peterson explores the origins, development, and consequences of hatred and racism from the time modern humans left Africa 100,000 years ago to the forced placement of Indian children on off-reservation schools far from home in the late 1800s. Along the way, dozens of notable individuals and cultures are profiled. Many historical events turned on the lives of legendary Americans like the "Father of the West," Thomas Jefferson, and the "Son of the West," George Armstrong Custer - two strange companions who shared an unshakable sense of their own skills - as their interpretation of truths motivated them in the winning of the West. Dr. Peterson reveals how anti-Indian sentiments were always only obliquely about them. They were victims but not the cause. The Indian was a symbol, not a real person. The politics of hate and racism directed toward them was also experienced in prior centuries by Jews, enslaved Africans, and other Christians. Hatred and racism, when taken into the public domain, are singularly difficult to justify, which is why Europeans and Americans have always sought vindication from the highest sources of authority in their cultures. In the Middle Ages it was religion supplemented later by the philosophy of the Enlightenment. In nineteenth-century Europe and America, religion and philosophy were joined by science and medicine to support Manifest Destiny, scientific racism, and social Darwinism, all of which had profound consequences on Native Americans and the Spirit of the West. Presenting research in anthropology, archaeology, biology, history, law, medicine, religion, philosophy, and psychology, Dr. Peterson provides the latest observations that delineate why the Native American's life was destroyed. American Trinity is a stunning portrait, a view at once unique, panoramic, and intimate. It is a fascinating book that will make you think about the differences between belief and knowledge; about the self-skepticism of science and medicine; and about what aspects of the world we take on faith.
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Rebuilding an Enlightened World

Folklorizing America

Author: Bill Ivey

Publisher: Indiana University Press

ISBN: 0253030153

Category: Social Science

Page: 194

View: 7324

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Today, the long-assumed belief in the permanence of an enlightened world is suddenly open to challenge. Human rights, participatory government, and social justice are losing global influence, and the world of ordinary people is pushing back against Enlightenment conceits. Accumulated anger links Taliban, Tea Party, and Trump, threatening women's rights, social justice, and democracy. To understand and counteract the threat to these ideas, we must set aside embedded explanations and embrace a new frame of observation and tolerance grounded in the power of belief, legend, and tradition. In Rebuilding an Enlightened World, Bill Ivey explores how folklore offers a unique and compelling new way to understand the underlying forces disrupting the world today. If we are to salvage the best of the Enlightenment dream and build a better future, we must begin to listen, patiently and inquisitively, in order to interpret the customs, norms, and traditional practices that shape all human behavior.
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Reimagining Hagar

Blackness and Bible

Author: Nyasha Junior

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0191062510

Category: Religion

Page: 184

View: 3979

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Reimagining Hagar illustrates that while interpretations of Hagar as Black are not frequent within the entire history of her interpretation, such interpretations are part of strategies to emphasize elements of Hagar's story in order to associate or disassociate her from particular groups. It considers how interpreters engage markers of difference, including gender, ethnicity, status and their intersections in their portrayals of Hagar. Nysaha Junior offers a reception history that examines interpretations of Hagar with a focus on interpretations of Hagar as a Black woman. Reception history within biblical studies considers the use, impact, and influence of biblical texts and looks at a necessarily small number of points within the long history of the transmission of biblical texts. This volume covers a limited selection of interpretations over time that is not intended to be a representative sample of interpretations of Hagar. It is beyond the scope of this book to offer a comprehensive collection of interpretations of Hagar throughout the history of biblical interpretation or in popular culture. Junior argues for the African presence in biblical texts; identifies and responds to White supremacist interpretations; offers cultural-historical interpretation that attends to the history of biblical interpretation within Black communities; and provides ideological criticism that uses the African-American context as a reading strategy. Reimagining Hagar offers a history of interpretation, but also expands beyond interpretation among Black communities to consider how various interpreters have identified Hagar as Black.
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The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture

Volume 22: Science and Medicine

Author: James G. Thomas Jr.,Charles Reagan Wilson

Publisher: UNC Press Books

ISBN: 0807837431

Category: Reference

Page: 304

View: 2927

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Science and medicine have been critical to southern history and the formation of southern culture. For three centuries, scientists in the South have documented the lush natural world around them and set a lasting tradition of inquiry. The medical history of the region, however, has been at times tragic. Disease, death, and generations of poor health have been the legacy of slavery, the plantation economy, rural life, and poorly planned cities. The essays in this volume explore this legacy as well as recent developments in technology, research, and medicine in the South. Subjects include natural history, slave health, medicine in the Civil War, public health, eugenics, HIV/AIDS, environmental health, and the rise of research institutions and hospitals, to name but a few. With 38 thematic essays, 44 topical entries, and a comprehensive overview essay, this volume offers an authoritative reference to science and medicine in the American South.
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The American Story

Since 1865

Author: George M. Fredrickson,T. H. Breen,R. Hal Williams

Publisher: Longman Publishing Group

ISBN: 9780321183224

Category: History

Page: 869

View: 1396

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An overview of the United States integrates social and political history into a coherent narrative.
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Theories of Human Evolution

A Century of Debate, 1844-1944

Author: Peter J. Bowler

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: N.A

Category: Science

Page: 318

View: 4681

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The question of human origin has always been disputed by evolution theorists. This book provides a comprehensive survey of the debates over human evolution from the time of Darwin to the 1940s. Part 1 discusses the early controversies, noting that they focused on philosophical issues rather than causes or details of the evolutionary process. A framework for the debate is outlined, considering evolution theory with race, culture and the progress of humankind. Part 2 describes various theories including the Neanderthal-Phase theory, the Presapiens theory, the Tarsioid theory, and Polytypic theories. Part 3 of the book deals with interpretations of the causes of human evolution. Arguments are presented which relate to the factors of brain expansion, upright posture and environment in the evolutionary process. Trends in human evolution are discussed, including convergence, Lamarckism, nonadaptive trends, and orthogenesis. The book ends with a review of arguments concerning Broom's (1933) question: The coming of man--was it accident or design? An extensive listing of references is provided in a bibliography and note section. (TW)
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